What Is The Typical Life Cycle of an Asphalt Road?

What Is The Typical Life Cycle of an Asphalt Road?

What Is The Typical Life Cycle of an Asphalt Road?
A well-constructed asphalt roadway that is installed by an experienced team, that is in contact with low levels of traffic, can last upwards of 25 years or more.

While asphalt roads are known for their durability, cost-effectiveness, and longevity, they too have an average life cycle that they go through. A well-constructed asphalt roadway that is installed by an experienced team, that is in contact with low levels of traffic, can last upwards of 25 years or more.  To better understand the beginning, middle, and end of your roadway’s lifespan, here is what a typical cycle looks like. 

Stage One: Brand New & Shiny Smooth  

In this stage, the asphalt roadway is within the first five years of its construction. If installed with proper care, experience, and high-quality materials, it will be at its peak in terms of safety, reliability, and durability. Drivers will enjoy a quiet, smooth, and non-slip surface.  It is unlikely that there will be any signs of damage other than some minor discoloration if the asphalt is exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.  Around the end of this stage, between the years of 3 through 4, a new application of sealcoat will be applied.

Stage Two: Round One of Preventive Maintenance

In this stage, which is the shortest in the asphalt roadway’s life cycle, lasting only 2-years between years 5 through 7, the initial sealcoat must be replaced.  If it has already been replaced, as suggested in stage one, then a second coat will be applied.  It is also recommended to inspect the asphalt for minor cracks in the surface, so that asphalt crack repair can be applied to prevent the need for major repairs.

Stage Three: Midlife Repairs

By the time the asphalt roadway hits stage three, it is considered midway through its life cycle.  It is normal to make minor repairs for wear and tear problems like cracking and potholes through the years 7 through 15.  Continued preventative maintenance such as applying a third sealcoat, using crack sealant, or patching previous repairs is done during this stage.

Stage Four:  Major & Expensive Repairs Are Needed.

By the time the asphalt roadway reaches stage four, which is between the years of 15 through 25, major and more expensive repairs are often needed.  Rather than preventative maintenance being used, the focus turns to preserving the existing surface for as long as possible with options like asphalt overlays and resurfacing. The idea here is to extend the asphalt’s functionality for as long as possible until a full reconstruction is needed.

Stage Five: Reconstruction or Replacement. 

Once an asphalt roadway hits the 25 year mark, this signals the end of the life cycle. In most cases, an asphalt roadway that has lasted this long, is likely to have undergone extensive repairs, and multiple patches.  The surface will be in disrepair and will need to undergo a full removal and replacement, as the existing surface will no longer hold the weight of traffic safely. 

While this is the typical life cycle of an asphalt road, there are several variables that can impact the asphalt’s life cycle, such as consistent weather exposure, upkeep and maintenance frequency, and traffic loads.  To find out more about the lifespan of your asphalt roadway, give us a call at (407) 618-9646 or fill out our contact form. 

If you are a property manager, contractor, or business owner, contact us about our FREE annual parking lot walk thru and maintenance program. Once a year, we will send out one of our parking lot experts to discuss and address the needs of your parking lot. Our goal is to save you time and money by planning and budgeting for future needs.  Contact us now to get started! You can give us a call today at (407) 618-9646 or fill out a contact form


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